> Lyrics Index

Want to name a pet something besides Tela? Can't recall which song mentions Aquitana or Elihu? Remember which nine Phish songs mention birds? Now, and once again, you can. Originally published in the second edition of The Phish Companion, extended with input from forum regulars in an earlier (c.2012-2015) version, and now thoroughly rebuilt from the ground up, the Lyrics Index is back!

This is a selective topical index of the lyrics to 252 Phish originals1 – 26,664 words2, indexed in 2,845 references3 (2,344 entered so far - 501 OTW!), organized in 51 topical categories4, some more selective than others5. The included references follow this logic:

  • A single index entry typically refers to multiple forms of the root, such as
    • "party" for "partying" and "parties", or
    • "circle" for "circled" and "circular."

  • Some specific instances of a word are indexed in more than one place, such as
  • Different instances of the same word may be indexed differently based on contextual meaning, such as
  • Summarily, for example, "fly" covers "flying" and "flew", but not "flyers" (Tools) or "flies" (Animals) - and the "to" in "to fly" is not indexed at all, while "flying mockingbird" is indexed three different ways. (Can you find them all?)

The index excludes lyrics based on this set of logic:

  1. Songs: We acknowledge 1047 song titles at, of which 48 are aliases. Of the 999 unique songs, 630 (63%) are covers. (The index excludes songs performed only by side projects, though does include, for example, Army of One, written for and first performed by Vida Blue but later performed by Phish.) Of the 357 unique originals, 72 (20%) are instrumental, 12 (3%) have lyrics by someone else (such as the Disney samples, or Jon Popper on "Don't Get My Wrong"), and 13 (4%) are excluded for other reasons, leaving 252 songs indexed here.
  2. Words:In those 252 songs, there are 38,694 total words, 4,757 unique words, and 3,713 roots after pluralization and verb tenses are removed. That includes some version of many words that would be neither interesting nor practical to index, including 20 pronouns (appearing 4,406 times), 17 conjunctions (1,844 times), 11 prepositions (828 times), 8 definite or indefinite articles (3,691 times), 9 forms of "to be" (1,204 times), 19 words (such as Rouge in Baton Rouge) treated in compound with another (57 total), and 21 words (such as 'to' in an infinitive) skipped for other miscellaneous reasons (1,623 total). Those 105 words appear a combined 12,030 times in some form (not including indexed instances, such as of "about" and "with"; see above), 31% of the full 38,694 words of original lyrics.
  3. References: Removing those 105 words from the 3,713 roots leaves 3,608 identified references, of which 1,970 appear in only one song, 545 appear in two, and 1,093 appear in three or more. Of those, 763 fall below a specified threshold, leaving 2,845 indexed references (including duplicate references) to 40,179 total entries.
  4. Categories range from t-shirt-friendly basics to arcane grammatical hair-splitting:
  5. Some categories are exhaustive - such as Animals, Colors, Names, Numbers, and Proper Places - including all potential entries even if only in one song. Some are selective based on frequency - such as Miscellaneous Verbs, indexed only if they appear in at least five songs. The list of categories itself is also not exhaustive (we could, for example, add a category for Education?) - and for some entries in some categories (such as Groups and Amounts, or Mind and Logic), we're definitely splitting hairs.

Only a fraction of Phish lyrics have been officially published, and there are variations in the performance, interpretation, and transcription of others. We thus welcome your feedback, and look forward to future updates.

Section Count
Amounts 92
Animals 86
Art 27
Body 109
Buildings 32
Characters 81
Clothes 47
Colors 21
Combat 111
Containers 25
Directions 103
Dishes 13
Drugs 12
Emotions 104
Events 37
Exclamations 27
Family 21
Food 109
Foreign 11
Furniture 27
Geometry 57
Groups 33
Home 30
Illness 43
Jobs 35
Literature 33
Logic 119
Made-up 23
Materials 94
Mind 49
Misc-adjectives 47
Misc-nouns 18
Misc-verbs 79
Music 55
Names 148
Nature 99
Numbers 43
Places 106
Proper-places 36
Religion 35
Size 25
Sounds 61
Time 129
Tools 77
Toys 10
Travel 105
Vehicle-parts 13
Vehicles 30
Vision 104
Water 51
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